Street Cafe Licences

Guidelines for placing tables and chairs on the highway under section 115 Part VIIA of the Highways Act 1980

Tables and chairs can be placed outside of premises such as cafes or restaurants under the Highways Act 1980 and a permit giving permission for these can be given by a local authority. This permit is usually known as a Street Cafe Licence or is sometimes also known as a Pavement Permit (to permit the siting of tables and chairs outside appropriate premises). At the present time however Tendring District Council does not have a policy or stance on this matter in terms of granting or not granting street cafe licences/pavement permits.

No applications are being accepted or considered for a Street Café Licence/Pavement Permit until such times as the Council has considered whether or not it will adopt a policy in regards to issuing or not issuing street cafe licences/pavement permits. No time scale is presently known for how long this review might take place over.

Regardless of whether the Council decides to adopt a policy in relation to requiring a grant of a street cafe licence/pavement permit, or not,  Planning permission to site table and chairs may be necessary anyway, particularly if the area for the tables and chairs is on the highway. Further information on Planning requirements is shown below and advice can also be obtained by contacting the Duty Planning Officer on 01255 686161. Or by e-mailing

The  advice/guidance details shown below are for information only to give an idea of what the process could be if for example the Council decided to adopt a policy of granting licences/permits for this activity. There are no plans to do so at current time however.

Should any other information be required in respect of street cafe licences/pavement permits the Council's licensing team will do its best to advise you and they can be contacted by emailing please note however that the licensing team does not and will not accept any applications or requests for grants of street cafe licences/pavement permits and can give limited advice only. It is not able to investigate or enforce any possible highway complaints or highway encroachments such as a boards or tables and chairs. Further advice on such matters can be sought through the Highway Authority at Essex County Council or by emailing Tendring District Council's planning authority

For information/advice only - content of possible draft guidelines for placing tables and chairs on highways under section 115 part VIIA of the Highways Act 1980 (in the event of any policy in this regard being adopted by the Council)


Before issuing a licence the council would have a statutory duty to obtain consent from the Highway Authority (Essex County Council), consult the neighbouring properties and obtain the consent of all frontagers with an interest.  It is therefore advisable to speak to your neighbours regarding your proposal before submitting the application to the council.  On receipt of your application the Council would consult with the Highway Authority to seek their approval.

Type of Permission

Under the current highways legislation, the Council can only grant a personal licence, usually to the manager of the premises.  This means that the licence cannot be assigned to anyone else.

Times of operation

You would need to inform the Council of your actual or proposed opening times.  The tables and chairs can be placed on the highway only when the premises are open for business and in any event not before 6.00am until the close of business.

Area Permitted

A minimum clear footway width of 2.00m must be available for the public to pass beyond the area proposed for table and chairs. If this is not achievable then the application will not be considered (if the Council adopts a policy in regards to the placing of tables and chairs on the highway). 

A plan (which must include dimensions) of the area outside your premises where you intend to place the tables and chairs will need to be submitted to the council. (if it adopts a policy in regards to the placing of table and chairs on the highway).

Once the area has been approved by the Council and following the licence being issued, the area will be demarked by metal studs being placed in the highway.  (if the Council adopts a policy in regards to the placing of table and chairs on the highway).

The Licence holder must remove any furniture if required to do so to permit works in or the use of the highway by the Council, the County Council, the emergency services, any statutory undertaker or telecommunications operator or where the Licence holder has been notified of a special event taking place.

Structures Permitted

Seating, tables and, if required, umbrellas (together with secure base) as well as any proposed barriers to enclose the seating area. No fixtures to, or excavations of any kind, shall be made to the surface of the highway except in the case of Connaught Avenue, Frinton on Sea or at sites where there is only the minimum clear footway width of 2.00m.

The structures are for the use of customers who have been supplied with food and/or drink from within the particular premises having the benefit of the permission.

It is a requirement that all structures must be removed at the close of trading each day and only left outside whilst the premises are open and trading.

All barriers would need to be of a certain height and colour for health and safety reasons and would need to be approved by the Council (if the Council adopts a policy in regards to issuing a permit for the placing of tables and chairs on the highway). The barriers may only display the establishment name and logo.


The Council must approve the design and size of the proposed tables, chairs, umbrellas and barriers.  The furniture must be stylish and of a robust construction suitable for commercial use and maintained to a satisfactory condition. Specific types of furniture may be required in conservation areas.

No charge can be made by the Licence holder for the use of the furniture.


Operators would need to indemnify both Tendring District Council and Essex County Council in respect of injury, damage or loss arising out of the grant of permission (unless such claims arise out of the Council’s negligence).  All operators must have public liability insurance in the sum of £5,000,000 in respect of any one event.  A copy of this insurance must be produced to the Council before a licence would be issued.

Expiry dates of insurance will be monitored to ensure insurance cover is current.

The Licence holder shall make no claim or charge against the Council in the event of the furniture or other objects being lost, stolen or damaged in any way.


No regulated entertainment would be permitted within the licensed area unless authorised.


Refuse and litter deposited on the highway in the vicinity of the chairs and tables must be collected at not less than hourly intervals (or more frequent intervals if required under the Environmental Protection Act 1990).

Litter is not to be placed in the litter bins situated on the highway for use by the general public, but in trade refuse bins.

All tables must be cleared as soon as practicable after being vacated by customers to avoid litter being deposited unnecessarily on the highway.


Any use of glass for the consumption of food or drink in the area covered by the permission must be made of toughened glass or plastic.

Sanitary Appliances

The number and type of public sanitary accommodation provided by a business is based on the number or potential customers.  The applicant should ensure that the sanitary provision remains appropriate for the increase in customer numbers resulting from additional seating.

Food preparation

No outdoor food preparation would be permitted under the terms of such a licence/permit.


The need for planning permission depends upon the main use of the building which the table and chair area will serve.  As a general rule if the area is within the curtilage of the site and is for a use ancillary to the main use, then, permission would not be required.  If the area is within the highway then different considerations may apply.  Each application would be checked to see if planning permission is required. 


Ongoing enforcement of the licensed area would be carried out to make sure the conditions of the licence are not being broken.


Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the licence may result in a licence/permit being suspended or revoked.

Last updated on: 24/07/2017 - 14:26